i become president of the united states. >> but the new politico george washington university battle ground poll shows president obama leading mitt romney 49- 47% nationally among likely voters. >> it's a tight race, a very tight race. >> mark kennedy, director of gw's graduate school of political management says while the race is close, there are bright spots for romney. the poll asked who would do a better job on budgeting and spending. romney beat the president 50- 43%. >> when it gets down to the ballot itself, although he's ahead still on the most important issue in people's minds, he's still behind overall largely because of that likability factor. >> but on which candidate would stand up for the middle class, the poll found the president won 51- 43% over romney, but kennedy says the president still needs to make his case to close the deal. >> i think the thing that obama needs to accomplish is he needs to show people he has a plan for how to grow the economy. >> while the campaigns are downplaying debate expectations -- >> government romney, he's a good debater. i'm just okay.